Ecuador, is a small South American country located on the equator line and trisected by the Andes Cordilleras, it offers numerous and incredible habitats, which help position Ecuador as one of the world’s top countries in biodiversity per square kilometer. This is true because its physiographic regions are sustained in a variable and exotic geology.
Nevertheless the last written books on Ecuadorian Geology of Walter Sauer date from 1965 and 1971 for the Spanish and English versions. Theodor Wolf published his incomparable book GeografÍa y GeologÍa del Ecuador back in 1892. Professor Vera published his book in the hopes of contributing to the further understanding of the geology of Ecuador with a modern text on the geology of his country. This book is fully illustrated and directed towards: naturalists and travelers, as well as students and professional geologists.
Ecuadorian Geology is unique; it offers marvelous sceneries in a relatively small area of 276,000 square Km of continental territory, and 8,000 square Km of insular territory. Ecuador has two Andean Cordilleras, the Western (Cordillera Occidental) and the Eastern (Cordillera Real).
7 Must Know Facts about the Ecuadorian Andes
1) The two cordilleras split the continental territory into three regions: The coast, the Inter-Andean Corridor, and the Oriente.
2) The Cordillera Real of Ecuador, equivalent to the Central Andes of Peru and Central Andes of Colombia, is the backbone of the Andes in South America, from Tierra de Fuego to the Caribbean Sea. This spectacular continental chain has more accessible peaks in Ecuador than anywhere else.
3) The Eastern Andes of the Peruvian cordillera disappears in the southeast of Ecuador making way for the Cordillera del Condor.
4) The Cordillera Occidental, which starts from the Gulf of Guayaquil and continues to the north, throughout Colombia, is of full marine origin. This Cordillera was formed when the marine crust of the Pacific Ocean floor and its associated Macuchi Island Arch, (underwater cordillera) were uplifted against the Cordillera Real. Important and magnificent caldera volcanoes are located in this cordillera: Quicocha, Pululahua and Quilotoa.
5) An elevated continental block in the north Oriente named the Napo Uplift, independent from the Cordilleras Real and Condor, creates a unique situation. It holds the Reventador volcano, the eastern most Andean active andesite volcano in the Oriente region, and closeby towards the south the Sumaco volcano, of totally different lava composition (alkaline).
6) The Molleturo massif, an elevated block formed of continental and marine crusts toward the southern coast, is connected with the Cordillera Occidental.
7) The Tahuin Cordillera, located south of the Molleturo Massif, is a continental block, which split and later reconnected with the Cordillera Real.
Geologists “read the earth by pulling back the layers and looking for evidence“
Taken From: The House of C. Darwin Museum.